Designer Interview With Kyle Courtright
Today a Designer Interview With Kyle Courtright who is an independent branding and identity designer pushing pixels in beautiful Albuquerque, New Mexico. He’s the founder of Logo Wave Awards International, creator of the Logo Inspiration Generator Tool and author of The Ultimate Guide to Logo Design Ebook. Kyle has had the opportunity to work with brands like the Detroit Lions, National Parkinson’s Foundation, American Cancer Society, USA Bass, Entrepreneur and Duke University.
The Logo Creative — Hi Kyle thanks for taking part in a Designer Interview is great to feature you.
Kyle Courtright — I’m more than happy to be featured on The Logo Creative, I appreciate the include! Such a stellar designer list by the way. Thanks again for the opportunity and for the feature — very kind of you!.
The Logo Creative — What was the turning point in your life when you decided to become a designer and how did you proceed?
Kyle Courtright — Senior year of high school, I took a graphic design class and love every minute. I remember Googling “graphic designer salaries” and even though the salary numbers were low, there was no doubt that design was the answer.
From an early age, my parents instilled the idea of doing what you’re passionate about instead of chasing the money. I loved art and computers, so pursuing graphic design just made the most sense.
The Logo Creative — What does your day consist of?
Kyle Courtright — Wake up around 7am (my 11 month old is my alarm). Spend time with my wife and sons. Start work around 8:30am. Emails/social media/design projects. Lunch at noon with my family. Design projects/emails 12:30–5:15pm.
The Logo Creative — What was the first logo you ever designed?
Kyle Courtright — Freshman year of college, I designed a logo for one of my profs at Indiana Wesleyan University. It was for a measly $50, but at the time it seemed like I hit the jackpot!
The Logo Creative — What is your favourite logo you have designed?
Kyle Courtright — This logo was developed for Joshua B. Clark Law, a company based in Sacramento, CA representing landlords, property management firms and investors
The Logo Creative — What is your favourite logo of all time?
Kyle Courtright — I don’t necessarily have one favourite, but if I had to choose, then Toufold by Sean Heisler is up there.
The equal repetition of the document/paper turning both in and away, while having a seamless representation of both the beak and the colorful feathers are on-point. The document lines and simple dot for the eye bring in both the idea of the letter and bird in such a minimal, effective way.
The Logo Creative — Can you describe or give us an overview of your logo design process?
Kyle Courtright — Listen — Research/mind-mapping — Sketches/conceptualization — Narrowing/honing — Cleaned up sketches — Digitizing
The Logo Creative — In your opinion regarding logo design pricing do you prefer working on a fixed rate or customer budget and can you explain why?
Kyle Courtright — Fixed rate (as opposed to hourly), with variation in price based on each client.
Your logo design rates should never be the same across the board. Let’s say Apple came to you and needed a quote on a logo redesign. The same day, a local mom and pop cupcake shop needs a logo. Would you charge the same? Of course not! You have to determine the value in the size of the business/revenue, scope of work and communication channels (to name a few).
There’s nothing innately wrong with catering to a client’s budget. Here’s the thing (please don’t miss this): Don’t lower the price just for the sake of it. Make sure there is an exchange of value. Here are some examples to help illustrate:
- “I can bring the price down $XX if the turnaround time is 3 weeks instead of 1 week.”
- “If you’re willing to move forward with me on your website for the $XXXXX quoted, then I can decrease the price of the logo.”
- “If you can send the full logo payment up front, I can knock off $XX on the logo.”
See how each scenario has an exchange of value? Without this exchange, you risk commoditizing both your design services and the design industry as a whole. As I mention near the bottom of this post on winning design clients and how to add value,
Each designer can either positively or negatively impact what our design services are worth to the consumer…let’s place value on what we do, so our clients can do the same.
The Logo Creative — How long does it take to complete the average logo design project from start to finish?
Kyle Courtright — It really depends. If the creative juices are flowing, then timelines can differ from when you hit an innovation roadblock. Overall, my turnaround time is about a week to have the finalized logo ready to go.
The Logo Creative — Are you a MAC or PC User and is there a reason for your choice?
Kyle Courtright — MAC all the way! Clean lines, intuitive, no bugs, useful out-of-the-box apps, holds value…
The Logo Creative — Which software do you use frequently?
The Logo Creative — What is your favourite style of logo design? And why?
Kyle Courtright — I feel like there is an iconic, minimalist approach to design that I tend toward. I’m drawn to vivid, bold design concepts in their most simplistic, innovative form.
The Logo Creative — What is your daily inspiration when you design?
Kyle Courtright — My go-to sites for design inspiration are Dribbble, Logo Inspiration Generator Tool and Logo Lounge.
The Logo Creative — In your opinion what’s the best and worst part of your job been a designer?
Kyle Courtright — I enjoy working with startups. Those goal-oriented entrepreneurs trying to get out of that 9–5 job to pursue what they are truly passionate about.
The toughest part is trying to have a consistent, creative state of mind. Creative block is a real thing and when you’re against a tight timeline, it can be stressful. Project deadlines never wait for creativity to catch up!
The Logo Creative — Who is the most inspiring person to you and why?
Kyle Courtright — My wife. She is an incredibly supportive, patient, kind and loving wife and mom. She’s a genuine inspiration and gift.
The Logo Creative — Who is your favourite Graphic Designer and why?
Kyle Courtright — Sean Farrell of Brandclay is at the top of the list. I’m always impressed with the creative, minimalist logos he continues to create. It’s obvious that he seeks to create the most paired down, simplistic logo while maintaining recognizability as an effective representation of the brand.
The Logo Creative — What’s your favourite design quote?
Kyle Courtright — “Design is the silent ambassador of your brand.” — Paul Rand
The Logo Creative — In less than 10 words what is graphic design?
Kyle Courtright — Visual elements communicating ideas in an artistic way.
The Logo Creative — What steps did you take to start your graphic design business? Did you have to make any sacrifices on your journey?
Kyle Courtright — I was newly married, had just moved across the country and had no job. The Courtright Design website was up and the logo was in place by early 2011, but customers were nowhere to be found.
Working low paying nine-to-fivers was an obvious necessity while trying to build up the business on the side. Life consisted of McDonald’s dollar menu dates with my wife and even grabbing free WiFi from our apartment complex office.
After work, I would come home, eat dinner, spend time with my wife and then begin working on the business from about 10pm-1am. (Lack of) sleep was too quickly followed by a loud beeping at 6:30am for my full-time job. Then, just rinse and repeat.
Over the next two years, the demand on the business grew exponentially.
Come January of 2013, my wife and I sat down at a local burger joint and made the decision to quit my salaried position and pursue the dream to freelance. With the opportunity to work with brands like National Parkinson’s Foundation, New Mexico Homeland Security and American Cancer Society, I’m just grateful for the chance to do what I love.
And nothing can beat working from home. If Nike offered me 10 million/year for an in-house design position, I wouldn’t take it — no, Nike…I’m not playing “hard to get” :) Being able to have lunch with my wife and sons every day is the best possible scenario and wouldn’t trade it for anything.
The Logo Creative — Do you have any regrets? Is there anything you would have changed early on in your career?
Kyle Courtright — Without question, my biggest regret is not building out my email list sooner. Your email list one of the most targeted, beneficial ways to make connections, win prospects, sell products and much more.
Also, I wish I would have made connections with like-minded designers like I am now (particularly on Twitter). I underestimated the importance of staying connected with the design community and supporting each other along the way.
The Logo Creative — If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?
Kyle Courtright — Don’t worry about making mistakes. It’s inevitable that you’re going to fail — it’s learning from your failures that bring opportunity.
The Logo Creative — What’s the most important piece of advice you have received as a designer that’s helped you?
Kyle Courtright — Your design portfolio is judged by the weakest piece. Quality over quantity.
The Logo Creative — What would be your advice for new Logo and Graphic Designers?
Kyle Courtright — Don’t be afraid to niche down. If you’re a one-stop-shop designer, but your true passion is logo design, then pursue logo design with everything you have and don’t look back!
learn more about Kyle Courtright | Courtright Design
Check out designers interview discussion on Linkedin
Originally published at The Logo Creative | Logo Design & Brand Identity Designer.